IS THE CHURCH BAD? Someone once threw this in my face: “Religion has been the cause of more deaths than anything else in human history.” Unfortunately, that kind of messaging often goes unchallenged. Yes, religion (of all sorts) has been the cause of millions of deaths but I informed my friend that more murders have been committed for political power than have ever been committed for religion. Mao Tse Tung is credited with killing a record 50 to 70 million of his own people in pursuit of the communist ideal. Add to that number the deaths of millions under Stalin, Lenin and Hitler and you realize that religion is not the main cause of the most deaths in history. The main cause is the human heart, whether it is expressed through religion, politics or simply “war for more”. The human heart is the problem and it needs to be fixed. (And by the way, friend, that includes you and me.)
In our culture Christianity is often singled out as a terrible blight upon humanity. People point out the historical sins of the church in the Crusades, the Inquisition and witch-hunts. (Many people do not know that evangelical Christians were receiving the tortures of the Inquisition.) As James Kennedy has written (What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?) that’s as fair as saying that the apostles were all like Judas. While it is true that many bad things have been done in the name of Christianity we must distinguish between those who truly follow Christ and those who only claim to do so. We can’t say that all governments are bad because Stalin, Lenin and Hitler were bad. In the same way, we can’t say that all of Christianity was bad because some who represent it have done atrocious things.
In the following weeks I plan to show that the true followers of Christ, the true church, has been the source of unbelievable good in the world. I want us to see that Christianity has contributed immensely to public medical care, literacy and education, the elevation of women, the abolition of slavery, the protection of children, the care of the poor, higher standards of justice, capitalism and the free market, provides a foundation for modern science and so on. The next time someone tells you that religion (meaning your evangelical faith) is bad I hope you will be able to present a broader view for them.